The National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) and several local partner organizations spearheaded a Citizenship Day Rally today and unveiled a State report showcasing the political power of the New American Voters in Michigan ahead of the November midterms
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 16, 2022
Mynellies Negrón | (703) 585-6727 | firstname.lastname@example.org
DETROIT – New American voters in Michigan can potentially play a crucial role in the 2022 midterm elections, with 66,177 new U.S. citizens who naturalized between 2016 and 2020 and are eligible to vote. This number represents nearly half the 154,188-vote margin of victory in the 2020 presidential election in the state. The data comes from a new report released today by the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the U.S. Immigration Policy Center (USIPC) at the University of California San Diego, along with other local organizations.
Understanding the electoral power of this multiracial, multigenerational, and geographically diverse group, local groups including Michigan United, APIAVote Michigan, Rising Voices, ACCESS, among others, joined to uplift the New American Voters Campaign 2022 – a non-partisan nationwide effort coordinated by the NPNA- to address naturalization barriers and encourage newly naturalized citizens in Michigan to register and vote.
“We are about two months away from one of the most important midterm elections for this country, with an estimated 5.19 million New American Voters nationally who have naturalized in recent years that will play a decisive role at the ballots. More than 66,000 of those are in Michigan. Citizenship has provided them with this powerful opportunity to shape the future of their communities, and we are proud to be working with local partners to deliver a big win for democracy by mobilizing this pivotal voting bloc to participate in the upcoming election. This is the time to raise their voices and demand solutions to the issues that matter the most, to get rid of the hate and division rhetoric in this challenging political time our nation is facing, and to make sure they elect officials who can lead their state into the progress they deserve,” said Nicole Melaku, NPNA’s Executive Director.
The Michigan’s New American Voters report key findings include:
- The New American Voters in Michigan have a majority coming from Iraq, with nearly 20%, and a slight majority of them are women (53%).
- Approximately 61% are under the age of 45 years old.
- The Detroit-Warren-Dearborn metropolitan area has the highest concentration of naturalized citizens, with nearly 290,000, followed by the Grand Rapids metropolitan area with nearly 34,000, and then the Ann Arbor metropolitan area with approximately 32,000.
- Michigan ranks 9th in the nation according to the New American Voters Impact Model, which showcases the potential of this critical voting bloc to influence the outcome of midterm elections in 50 states.
The findings are based on U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) data on naturalization from 2016 to 2020 and the agency’s approved naturalization applications in 2021.
There are, however, electoral challenges that new voters are experiencing. From voter suppression and language access, to issues related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and the continuing efforts preventing the successful navigation of the voting process, newly naturalized voters are finding barriers to voting in elections. This reality has forced organizations to adapt their voter engagement activities and mobilize this important voting bloc. At the same time, the increasing backlog and processing delays of citizenship applications have become another form of voter suppression. Growing backlogs at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have created delays in processing citizenship applications: more than 14,000 are pending in USCIS’ offices in Michigan, with processing delays of up to 11 months.
“In observance of Citizenship Day celebrations, we are unveiling a report that shows how much our naturalized community has grown, and in growing, how powerful we are. Michigan is home to more than 66,000 newly naturalized citizens from 2016-2020. The number is significant because the margin of victory in 2020’s presidential election was almost 155,000 votes,” said Ken Whittacker, Michigan United executive director. “The power of the naturalized voting block in this state can decide elections: not just the presidential, but school board, city council and other levels of government that decides how much is spent, when it is spent and whom it is spent for. You now have your vote, you now have your voice.”
“I came to the U.S. in 1993 and moved to Detroit. I call southwest Detroit my home though I miss my family back in Guatemala. I chose to become a U.S. citizen for many reasons: one of my dreams was to have better opportunities,” said Mayra Valle, new Citizen originally from Guatemala and recent voter. “Now I voted for my first time in the primary elections in August. I encourage anyone who is a green card holder and is eligible to submit your citizenship application, and look for resources from many organizations like such as Michigan United and ACCESS among others. For me, becoming a citizen was life changing and now I have peace of mind.”
“We believe that new citizens should not be disenfranchised from having their voice in American society. For this election cycle, we’ve been heavily focused on registering new citizens to vote as this is a crucial year to engage our communities to vote,” said Kurtis Fendandez, APIAVote MI Field Manager
“As the oldest Latino advocacy agency located in Southwest Detroit, LA SED believes that participation in local, state, and federal elections is an essential freedom of American democracy, one which is unfortunately not guaranteed in all other countries. Voting is a privilege and responsibility. Newly naturalized U.S. citizens should have their voices heard and vote for officials at all levels who will best represent their interests, culture, and ideals,” said Mary Carmen Muñoz, La SED.
The New American Voters campaign aims to Naturalize #2MillionBy2022; it is a partnership between the country’s leading immigrant, refugee advocacy, service organizations, cities and counties, as well as national advocacy organizations and unions. We are uniting to educate, empower and encourage eligible folks to take the final step on their immigration journey: to become U.S. citizens just in time to vote in this year’s midterm election on November 8, 2022.
About the Report’s Contributors & Endorsers
Michigan United organizes to build the power our communities need to win the justice they deserve. We’re working for an equitable and sustainable world that reflects our values of economic and racial justice. Learn more at www.miunited.org.
Asian Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote) Michigan is a nonpartisan nonprofit committed to justice and equity for the Asian American community through grassroots mobilization, civic engagement, leadership development, and coalition building. Learn more at www.apiavotemi.org.
Rising Voices is a nonprofit organization that seeks to organize and develop the leadership of Asian American women (cis, trans, Gender Non-Conforming and femme-identifying) and young people for power around progressive values and policy in the state of Michigan. Learn more at www.risingvoicesaaf.org.
For more than 50 years, ACCESS, the nation’s largest Arab American community nonprofit organization, has built communities and institutions that span multiple sectors with a focus on community empowerment. From human service programs serving recent immigrants, to a national program promoting Arab American philanthropy, ACCESS transitions people from being service recipients to fully engaged citizens able to advance justice and equity. Utilizing our vast experience in human services, ACCESS has developed an integrated and comprehensive program model of service delivery for diverse communities, including low-income and immigrant communities, in the areas of health, education, economic empowerment, workforce development, civic engagement, and arts and culture. Learn more at https://www.accesscommunity.org/
The National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) is a national multiethnic, multiracial organization that represents 60 of the largest regional immigrant and refugee rights organizations in 40 states. Its members provide large-scale services for the communities, to leverage their collective power and expertise for a national strategy. Learn more at partnershipfornewamericans.org.
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) unites 2 million diverse members in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. SEIU members working in the healthcare industry, in the public sector and in property services believe in the power of joining together on the job to win higher wages and benefits and to create better communities while fighting for a more just society and an economy that works for all of us, not just corporations and the wealthy. Learn more at www.seiu.org
The U.S. Immigration Policy Center (USIPC) at UC San Diego conducts and supports rigorous social science research to advance understanding of the foundations and consequences of U.S. immigration policy. Immigration has played an integral role in American history and is sure to feature prominently in America’s future. But what should the immigration policies of our nation of immigrants be? The USIPC brings together leading academics, policy analysts, immigrant rights leaders, and policymakers across all levels of government to conceptualize, debate, and design a new U.S. immigration policy agenda that meets the demands of the 21st century. Learn more at https://usipc.ucsd.edu/